'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty'
Annie Barrett
December 29, 2013 AT 04:43 PM EST

Throughout The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I never really viewed Patton Oswalt’s character Todd — Walter’s personal eHarmony counselor who goes above and beyond the call of duty — as legitimate. I just thought, “Huh, well, that’s an interesting way for Ben Stiller to sneak his funny buddy into the movie.” Most of the time I assumed Todd might be fictional, another element of Walter’s overactive imagination, and that eHarmony was in on the joke.

“I’m incredibly dumb,” my own eHarmony profile might say — because NOT QUITE!

eHarmony says it did not pay for promotion within the film. But now, inspired by the film, the dating site really does offer a personal counseling service called eH+, for $5,000 instead of the $500 the 2013 version of Walter Mitty shelled out (as James Thurber rolled around in his grave).

“The counselor is going to have a lot of power,” eHarmony’s Grant Langston told MarketWatch. “The service is also designed to minimize the rejection and anxiety that comes with online dating.”

The “factual” portion of this post ends here; the rest is pure crazy!

Good God in aHarmonious heaven! FIVE GRAND? And the matchmaker won’t be a household name like Patton Oswalt or Patti Stanger? Absolutely absurd. There is no amount of dollars that will minimize the rejection and anxiety that comes with online dating. Listen up! (Wait, am I about to turn PopWatch into an online dating advice column? Sure am. Last Sunday of the year.) Your wacky big sister Annie is gonna share The Secret Life Force of Online Dating with the very few of you still reading, for free. And the secret…. is….

Just don’t be sober while you surf the dating site.

There, I’ve just saved you five grand. It’s that simple. Go ahead and set the money on fire if you still feel like wasting it; just keep it away from the wine, because you need that. Don’t be reckless; just pick your poison, indulge, and let the winks and emboldened one-liners fly. This thrilling, terrifying process is a lot like live-action dating, except you’re all alone. It’s fine, though! Lots of people are. Your bed is cozier than a gross, packed bar anyway, and who ever wants to get dressed?

(What is this — an excerpt from Misguided Pep Talks I Gave Myself in 2011? Much like my fellow Time Inc. loyalist Walter Mitty, I deserve to be fired for my daydreaming. But no! I’m okay! This blog post is my winding Icelandic road, and I am Ben Stiller on a skateboard. I still somewhat believe in me, just like Walter Mitty totally believes in LIFE!)

Back to online dating: Obviously don’t drink if you shouldn’t be drinking. All I mean is, find a way to get out of your regular ol’ ritualistic head. There are probably other options. For example, Food Matters on Netflix recently taught me that high-concentration vitamin therapy can pack quite the punch. Or you could over-exercise, maybe? Really get those endorphins flowing. Do whatever you need to do to elevate beyond the terrible baseline dread of Being You. It’s rough in there — your head, the Internet. There’s no need to deal with these things unaided. Try anything, really. Walter Mitty would want you to.

I swear this was meant to be a brief news nugget about eHarmony’s attempt to capitalize on this movie. In any case…

Did you like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty overall? I thought it was stunningly shot, perfectly scored, and much less magical than I was anticipating based on its amazing teaser trailer. The film was never unpleasant, but it was a little too slick for me to be swept away. (Perhaps I should have applied my online dating strategy to my movie-going!) What about you?

Oh, and random self-gifting suggestion: I really liked Patton Oswalt’s book, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, in case you’re in possession of one of the 700 billion Amazon gift cards flying around. It might go better with beer.

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